Correction appended Jan. 27, 2012
Approaching the one-year anniversary of Concordia Student Union (CSU) President Lex Gill’s contentious election, three Concordia students launched a petition yesterday to impeach her.
In a meeting that same night, CSU Council unanimously passed a motion of confidence in Gill.
There are 35 whereas clauses in the petition, available online at stoplexgill.com, detailing – among other issues – the recent decline in student representation on the Concordia Board of Governors, strained relations with other Concordia student societies, and a series of grievances related to the election of Gill’s slate, Your Concordia, last spring.
A parody of the petition site, stoplexgill.ca, was set up hours later.
Gill and her slate were elected last spring amidst a chaotic campaign that feature numerous campaign violations and targeted vandalism by the opposing slate, Action. The controversy continued into this year as a Council-initiated Judicial Board (J-Board) hearing found that Chief Electoral Officer Bram Goldstein had been inappropriately appointed in the midst of the election.
An appeal of the ruling from former CSU councillor Tomer Shavit was dismissed as out of order by J-Board. Shavit co-authored the petition with Alex Gordon, president of the Concordia Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA), and Marianna Luciano, president of the Commerce and Administration Students’ Association (CASA).
In a statement emailed to The Daily, Gill condemned some of the whereas clauses as “rife with conjecture, misinformation, logical fallacies, defamatory statements, and straightforward lies about myself, and more importantly, the work of my executive team.”
“There is nothing more disappointing to me, or damaging to the CSU’s reputation, than watching a capable student union descend into petty infighting and internal chaos,” she wrote.
Gill devoted several paragraphs of her statement to outlining procedural issues with the petition. The CSU’s current bylaws only allow students to impeach an entire slate – not individual executives. In November 2011, a by-election changed the bylaws to allow individual impeachment; however, the changes do not take effect until March 1.
According to the Link, Shavit defended his petition at the meeting, saying he would continue to pursue an individual impeachment.
Shavit called the current bylaws “open to interpretation,” according to the Link.
In an interview with the Link, Shavit said the petition had been developing for months, but that “it took a while for everything to fall into place.” Before last night’s meeting, various CSU councillors expressed skepticism about the petition.
Anthony D’Urbano, councillor from the John Molson School of Business, said he wasn’t surprised the petition had come up.
“There’s been a lot of controversy with regards to the last election,” he said.
In an email to The Daily before the meeting, Arts and Science councillor Lina Saigol wrote that the petition “seems to be something of a personal vendetta” against Gill.
“Stuff like this happens every year,” Saigol continued. “I plan to have no part in it, as I find the accusations completely unfounded.”
Former Arts and Science councillor Bruno Joyal said Gill and Shavit have “been political opponents for some time,” and doubted the petition will raise the necessary signatures to be validated.
“I have no bad feelings dismissing this thing as a farce,” he continued. “Lex is honestly one of the best presidents the CSU has had in the past few years. She’s not some kind of dictator running the show.”
Gill wrote in her statement that “should a petition, collected after [new bylaws are enacted on] March 1 be validated, I’d be happy to call the General Meeting, book the room, and move the motion myself. That is, after all, how democracy works.”
In the printed version of this article, it states that Bruno Joyal is a CSU Arts and Science councillor; he is in fact a former councillor. The Daily regrets the error.